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Marilee J. Layman

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02:43 pm: The Americanization of Emily

This movie takes place in Britain right around D-Day. Charlie (James Garner), a "dog-robber," takes care of an admiral (Melvyn Douglas) -- girls, liquor, food, candy, lots of things that can't be obtained in Britain. (In 1972, my father was a FlagSec -- Flag Secretary -- which is the same as "dog-robber" but he didn't have to dress and undress his admiral.) Charlie's been taking girls, too, and when required to bring a girl to a party and bridge, he can't get the one he wants. He gives in to Emily (Julie Andrews), a driver whose brother, father, and husband have died in the war, expecting little from her. She turns up outstandingly beautiful, but she doesn't want a Hershey bar because she wants to stay a Brit.

Charlie's admiral goes a little nuts and requires a movie showing that it's a sailor who dies first on the beach. Charlie and his friend (James Coburn) try to arrange so it doesn't have to be done.

Charlie and Emily fall in love and agree to get married, but Charlie tells her that he's a coward and war is wrong. When she finds out that he's tricking the admiral, she breaks up. It turns out that the boats came back and will go out the next night, so Charlie is on the boat with a camera. He does get out first, but then tries to get back in the ship. Coburn shoots him in the leg to get him back on the beach. Soon, people think he's dead and Emily is told. The picture of him being the first sailor on the beach is printed all over and there may be a plaque or something.

It turns out he's still alive and when he comes back, he refuses to say the things Coburn wants him to say -- he wants to tell the truth about trying to get back on the boat and being shot. Emily convinces him that he must make it look good, and says she will take a Hershey bar.

I think the Americanization really doesn't happen to Emily -- there's a lot more different things than candy -- but it's something that can tie the movie together. There are real pictures from D-Day in the movie, but they're short. I didn't like this as much as I thought I would.

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